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Ron Paul, in an exasperated tone during the Iowa debates, said: “All these trade sanctions!…This is why we still don’t have a trade relationship with Cuba.”
Ground Control to candidate Paul: according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. has transacted almost $4 billion in trade with Cuba over the past decade. Up until two years ago the U.S. served as Stalinist Cuba’s biggest food supplier and fifth biggest import partner. We’ve fallen a few notches recently, but we’re still in the top half. Furthermore, the U.S. has been Castro-controlled Cuba’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid, including medicine and medical supplies, for decades.
Ground Control to candidate Paul: For over a decade, the so-called U.S. embargo has merely stipulated that Castro’s Stalinist regime pay cash up front through a third–party bank for all U.S. agricultural products; no Ex-Im (U.S. taxpayer) financing of such sales. (You’d really, really think a libertarian would approve of this.) Enacted by the Bush team in 2001, this cash-up-front policy has kept the U.S. taxpayer among the few in the world not screwed and tattooed by Fidel Castro. Here are a few other items candidate Paul might keep in mind before any campaign stops (especially in Florida):
Per-capita-wise, Cuba qualifies as the world’s biggest debtor nation with a foreign debt of close to $50 billion, a credit–rating nudging Somalia’s, and an uninterrupted record of defaults. Standard & Poor’s refuses even to rate Cuba, viewing the economic figures released by the regime apparatchiks as utterly bogus.
Ron Paul in an exasperated tone during the Iowa debates also said: “It’s about time we start talking to Cuba!”
Ground Control to candidate Paul: In fact “we” (the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) started engaging with Fidel Castro before he was even in “office.” To wit:
“Me and my staff were all Fidelistas” (Robert Reynolds, the CIA’s “Caribbean Desk’s specialist on the Cuban Revolution” from 1957-1960).
“Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State was pro-Castro, except [Republican] ambassador Earl Smith” (CIA operative in Santiago Cuba, Robert Weicha).
Their advice was taken, and January 7, 1959 thus marks a milestone in U.S. diplomatic history. Never before had “we” (the U.S. State Department) extended diplomatic recognition to a Latin American government as quickly as we bestowed this benediction on Fidel Castro’s that day.
Nothing so frantically fast had been bestowed upon “U.S.-backed” Fulgencio Batista seven years earlier. Batista had in fact been punished by a U.S. arms embargo and heavy diplomatic pressure to resign for a year. Batista was subsequently denied exile in the U.S. and not even allowed to set foot in the country that “backed” him.
In fact, during Castro’s first 16 months in power, “we” (the U.S. State Department) made over 10 back-channel diplomatic attempts to ascertain the cause of Castro’s tantrums and further “engage” him. Argentine President Arturo Frondizi was the conduit for many of these and recounts their utter futility in his memoirs.
The result of all of this Cuban engagement? Here’s a brief list.
Result: In July 1960, Castro’s KGB-trained security forces stormed into 5,911 U.S.-owned businesses in Cuba and stole them all at Soviet gunpoint – $2 billion were heisted from outraged U.S. businessmen and stockholders. Not that all Americans surrendered their legal and hard-earned property peacefully. Among some who resisted were Bobby Fuller, whose family farm would contribute to a Soviet-style Kolkhoze, and Howard Anderson, whose profitable Jeep dealership was coveted by Castro’s henchmen. Both U.S. citizens were murdered by Castro and Che’s firing squads.
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